Monday, January 24, 2011

Freezing Just About Everything.

Chances are you regard your freezer as just a part of your refrigerator. I look at it the other way around, however, because the freezer provides so many benefits to me on a daily basis. Whether you're cooking for one (like me), or enjoy saving time and money on a regular basis, it's essential you know the ins and outs of what your freezer can do for you. I've collected a few ideas I have found useful; but I could go on forever! Read on, you might be surprised. 

Freezer Fundamentals: 
- Your goal is to keep air away from your food and keep the moisture in. 
- If you're freezing cooked food, you want to leave it on the counter until room temperature, sit it in the fridge for a few hours, and then freeze it. 
- Freeze your foods at their peek. If you anticipate not using a portion of something, freeze it while it's fresh to preserve it. 
- If you are to reheat something after freezing, freeze it when it's slightly undercooked 
- Label, label, label!

Granola Bars! Individually wrapped in saran wrap and then stashed in a freezer bag. 

The science behind why it works: 
A freezer preserves food for extended periods by slowing the movement of molecules, causing microbes to ender a dormant stage. This prevents growth of microorganisms that cause food spoilage and food born illness. 

Veggies, veggies, veggies!

There are 3 (and only three) safe ways to thaw things: 
1. in the fridge
2. in cold water 
3. in the microwave 
*otherwise, your food will be unsafe to eat. This includes but is not limited to plopping it on the counter. 

Meatballs (uncooked), shrimp, chicken, turkey = meat section 

-When you stuff your freezer to the brim, it will be easy to forget what everything is and where it is. I tend to keep my like items together. I have a carb corner, a stack of meat, all the veggies together, and a stack of soup. I tend to keep things that I grab on a daily basis (like granola bars) in the door. I label everything with the following information and it makes it so extremely easy. 
- Description of contents 
- Date you made or bought
- Date you need to eat by 
- Calorie count 
- How many servings per container 

Yes, I have a carb corner... pancakes, 1/2 a loaf of bread, and chocolate chip muffins. 

Tips and Tricks: 
- crack eggs, whip together, and freeze in ice cube trays. 2 Cubes = 1 large egg
- freeze soups in muffin tins. About two is a 1 cup serving. 
- flash freeze items on a cookie sheet (like pancakes) before freezing in one container to prevent sticking. 

Soup! I store it three ways: in bags, in muffin tins, and in plastic containers. 

You can freeze practically anything. 
-Fresh Vegetables 
- soup
-Fresh Fruit 
- Meat
- seafood 
- butter 
- milk (I freeze buttermilk all the time) 
- bread: muffins, pancakes, cupcakes (unfrosted ;) ) 

Things that do not freeze well: 
-food in cans
-eggs in shells
-cream sauce 

I could go on and on. I'm pretty much in love with my freezer. More tips to come, but in the meantime happy freezing! 

 - xoxo,  Aysley 

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